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Buying land in Philippines

davtjo . . . .

Who is wrong and about what?

If you refer to my previous post, I am 100% correct in what I said. The law is PERFECTLY CLEAR about a foreigner owning land through hereditary succession and cannot be interpreted in any other way.

Before my wife and I retired here eight years ago we researched in considerable depth the issue of ownership, and therefore my security in the event of her death. What I realised at the start is you can get ten different answers and opinions from  ten different 'experts' and most are wrong.

I am entirely satisfied that should the unfortunate happen, I will inherit the property 100% BUT we have two separate legal wills and in my wife's will I am the sole beneficiary.

There is little more to say on this subject. There is no confusion and no ambiguity; under the constitution and current law, the only way a foreigner can own land in the Philippines is through hereditary succession.

As I posted, the law of inheritance applies to foreigners  in the same way as for Filipinos. the deceased if she/he leave a will, then the law of inheritance applies, ie, kids get their share first,  3rd in the queue, is the spouse. If the person dies intestate the whole of the property goes to the spouse. Now I\m not totally sure of that statement as it does not apply to me I will be dead and buried a good few decades before my wife lol., so I did not investigate further. But my advice to anybody would be ignore all that is posted and here, go and satisfy yourself what the law is as it applies to yourself. As to negotiating with Mr Duterte, nice thought. All I would want is a max of say 1000 sq. mtrs. that would not invite abuse and only available for people who have permanent residency and who will spend the majority of their time in PH. I will b e applying for ssrv as an ex military, retiree. The cost is about 70500 peso at the current low ex rate, however with the provision of a long term lease on a house and lot, this money can be used. I have confirmation of all this from the relevant authority dealing with the applications. Ok sermon over. Not sure whether you are a remainer or a leaver, despite what it has cost me I am a leaver. Have a great time

If I were you I would definitely check into the will situation.

The law that governs the issues on inheritance is the New Civil Code of the Philippines (NCC), not the Family Code..
“Testate or testamentary succession” refers to situations where the person dies leaving a last will. The person who executes a last will is called the “testator.”
The share in the inheritance is called “legitime.” The NCC provides for compulsory heirs” or certain people to whom the testator is obligated to give their legitimes.
In computing the legitimes, the remaining portion of the estate is called the “free” portion. The testator can give this portion to anyone.
“Legal or intestate succession” refers to situations where the person died without a last will; the share in the inheritance is called “intestate share.”
“Extrajudicial settlement of estate” is a voluntary agreement among the heirs partitioning the estate (free of debts), executed before a notary public, and published once a week for three weeks in a newspaper of general circulation.
A sole heir claiming the whole estate can file an“Affidavit of adjudication by sole heir” with the Register of Deeds (if real property is involved) or with the BIR.

Just as I found when googling rules of inheritance. If your wife has legitimate heirs then she cannot will 100% to you. Up to you of course, as I say the only person affected is you and only you can decide the correct action for you.

Thanks for your comment; I am secure.

davtjo :

Not sure whether you are a remainer or a leaver, despite what it has cost me I am a leaver. Have a great time

:offtopic: I was a BREXIT 'leaver' too. Short term pain - long term gain... (IMHO)

I would say 'in a nutshell' but that's being very simplistic (and of course any current law(s) could be changed retrospectively)) but I guess, IF you are married to a Filipino, in the event of their demise, as a surviving [foreigner] spouse you will: -

1. Inherit all of the property (including land) if there are no other heirs/beneficiaries.
2. Inherit a proportion of the property (including land) if their are other heirs/beneficiaries.
3. Inherit whatever is stipulated in a WILL, if a valid one exists, and is contrary to the above standards.

Obviously there are 'fiddly' routes such as 'corporations' and/or owning the bricks & mortar and having a 'lease-back' on the land for longer than the foreigner is ever likely to survive OR...

...Owning the land in your wife's name and saying "F*ck it" Who cares? - Life's too short! A divorce in the UK would cost you and arm & a leg too!!  :idontagree:

I do think that [valid] foreigners i.e. 13a Spouses with permanent residency status, family obligations etc. could be given 'special exceptions' say, limited to a certain sqm land parcel - and only ONE plot at a time up to that limit!!! In-turn mitigating speculators/foreign developers whilst at the same time making .PH a viable retirement investment proposition with the same peace of mind [currently] afforded foreign-quota condo owners?

Certainly that would give destinations like Thailand a kick up the backside and perhaps start a movement toward better investment security for loyal, long term expats abroad. After all, they get this from UK/EU/US/AUS etc etc....

Keep dreaming I guess.......

Johnnyboy glad to hear that. Enjoy all that life has to offer

Yes I agree that we should be allowed a modest amount of land.

I have been thinking how to settle down in Phils...

First I need to find a place where I can breathe fresh air and dont melt away because of the heat - not easy, but I still have hope.

Then I will buy a house - thats easy - but I have to put it on the ground somewhere...

A boat house can be an alternative of course, but I guess that would make it even more complicated when the first typhoon lifts the house up on the waves. Maybe a small lake or fish fond would work...

And hanging the house up in big baloons seems even more typhoon risky...

So back on the ground...

I have been thinking of paying both the house and the lot myself, to become the formal owner of the house, but to let my pinay buy the lot for a small symbolic price and make a longterm deal/contract that I rent the lot from her in 25 years with a symbolic price of 100 php a year and with an automatic prolongation another 25 years after the first 25 years and also with a contract "period of notice" of 50 years. In order to use the capital burried in the house earlier than 25 years from now, we will then have to agree to sell both the lot and the house and if I pass away earlier my kids back home will have their share based on a prenuptial.

Can this concept work?

NO. . . this is the Philippines

Not sure about 'prenuptial' agreements for any worldwide assets (they are only barely recognised in the UK - unlike in the USA) but certainly there are ways to implement a legal contract between all parties in some manner, for peace of mind in terms of property [bricks & mortar] ownership and land lease-back/tenancy (I am not talking assets on divorce here - I am talking about how to live somewhere without being ejected penniless). Yes it is messy, yes it is fraught with potential issues and NO it is never going to be ideal, perfect or watertight.

Wills can obviously outline your wishes on death for [worldwide] assets and [Philippine] held assets via separate Wills and/or Codicils - written in their respective countries/jurisdictions. You will certainly need a Philippine lawyer if you wish to draft anything that is contrary to the standard inheritance law of succession as applied in the Philippines. Any 'local' Will can be specific to locally held assets only. A good lawyer here will highlight how costly it is to try and do anything outside of the norm.

If you are married to a Filipino prior to buying land - there is the option to have your name stated on any Land Title [prudent]. Your wife will be deemed by law to 100% own the land, but you are stipulated and deemed an 'interested party'. It is harder [but not impossible] for her to sell the land from underneath you or encumber the Land with say, a Bank Loan, without your permission. BUT NOT IMPOSSIBLE!!!  :dumbom: 

Due to the intricacies of the law here, and the general reluctance to permit foreign direct ownership of land in verbatim, there will always be an element of associated risk. You are, after all, circumventing the law which specifically bans outright land ownership by foreigners. Therefore, away from the glossy brochures and idillic perceptions of living like a king in your own palace - the vast majority of [informed] expats, limit their castles to a modest plot and modest house.

It is of course sensible to project an image of not being 'wealthy' as this is never wise in any country...

:offtopic:

My sincere wish would be for 'eligible' foreigners (married, long term expat residents and those with families here etc. etc.) to be permitted to purchase ONE plot (or plots) up to a limited size. Either anywhere or in special designated zones.

After all, in the Philippine Economic Zones I can setup a company and own 100% of it here. The argument of course is 'job creation'. But don't all we fellow expats create jobs indirectly anyway?

Like I've said in other threads - I shall keep dreaming.....

Trying to circumvent the law in any country is foolhardy and will virtually in all cases come unstuck. Working within the law and using the safeguards , eg 50 year lease renewable for 25 years, is the best option,

davtjo :

Trying to circumvent the law in any country is foolhardy and will virtually in all cases come unstuck. Working within the law and using the safeguards , eg 50 year lease renewable for 25 years, is the best option,

Yes. Always. And on death - foreigners should appreciate that the 'owner' (typically filipino wife/partner) will continue to be the owner (and/or proportionally with any filipino children etc.) Quite straightforward really.

I chuckle when expats seek to 'write-out' or 'dissetnheirit' in favour of previous children they may have from previous marriages before they settled in the Philippines, or to try and make-up rules like:

"If she remarries - can I make so she looses everything?" 

***! Why get married? Just continue to live a contrived, self-serving, shallow and mediocre existence without genuine love - you pompous a*****!!

(Sorry - It winds me up sometimes) :joking:

About previous children. Yes I have two children who should be in title to inherit 50% after me if I marry my pinay - thats the swedish law (...)

Now I can give my pinay fiancee two options as I see it:

1. Use half of my house budget to buy a house in Philippines and the other half will be saved on a swedish bank account ensuring that my current daughter get their half if I by accident pass by (I guess it will happen sooner or later...)

2. Use the whole budget and buy a better and bigger house combined with a contract regulating my current daughters half and with help from an experienced Filippino lawyer.

I guess most of you guys would vote for the first alternative with lowest risk...

orjanf :

About previous children. Yes I have two children who should be in title to inherit 50% after me if I marry my pinay - thats the swedish law (...)

Now I can give my pinay fiancee two options as I see it:

1. Use half of my house budget to buy a house in Philippines and the other half will be saved on a swedish bank account ensuring that my current daughter get their half if I by accident pass by (I guess it will happen sooner or later...)

2. Use the whole budget and buy a better and bigger house combined with a contract regulating my current daughters half and with help from an experienced Filippino lawyer.

I guess most of you guys would vote for the first alternative with lowest risk...

YES!

Additionally, if you were going to effectively 'tie up' the capital in a house anyway - you might consider setting up a simple TRUST in Sweden, with your daughter as sole beneficiary upon your demise. If anything like UK law, a TRUST FUND is separate to any 'personally held assets' elsewhere as 'technically' as soon as you gift assets into a trust, you no longer legally own them. Of course you need to be confident you will never need to call upon these funds in future?

In any event:

i. You need a Swedish Will for your overseas/Swedish assets - keep that for the benefit of your daughter.
ii. You need a Filipino Will to outline what your wife/partner/children of Filipino decent will inherit upon your demise (bearing in mind that the Filipino law of succession is pretty clear anyway)!

It is at your discretion how 'fair' you make the division of assets. Speak to a Swedish lawyer for guidance on the offshore element of your net worth.

Logic would also dictate that the last thing you would wish to do is encumber your poor daughter with Filipino inheritance law upon your demise. I personally wouldn't wish that on my worst enemy!
:dumbom:

K.I.S.S.

(Keep It Simple, Stupid) as the saying goes....

For sure I have that in mind, else my daughters will go from ash to fire :-)

In reply to this issue,  when you purchase the property with your Filipino wife have your attorney add in a clause that (your spouse sign a non revocable agreement) that gives you the control of the property in any way you deem you need to including selling it to recoup the money you have invested in it.  Then this irrevocable trust is attached to the purchase contract when you record the property in your name.  This way you, the foreigner is protected with you investment.  My  attorney's name is Joselita Mercado.  Cell phone number mis 09399044198.  Her office is in Molina/Bacoor.  She is easy to understand and honest.  Fees are surprisingly inexpensive.  I have had her do many things for me.  rainrider9

That sounds like a great idea

I think the law of succession is pretty clear.

As far as I am aware, as a foreigner you cannot purchase a property 'with' your wife. The property must be in your wife's name, with you shown on the title deed as the spouse.

Despite any agreement you have, the law is clear; you can only sell it in the event your wife dies and you inherit the property - only then can you own it and sell it.

Hi folks,
If I was to buy or start anything in the Philippines, I wouldn't rely on this so controversial post. In any large bookstore in the Philippines there are numerous books for sale for foreigners on all these subjects: law, constitution, business, buying, etc.
Opinions and experiences are welcome, but I wouldn't bet all my money on them.

AlegreViajero :

Hi folks,
If I was to buy or start anything in the Philippines, I wouldn't rely on this so controversial post. In any large bookstore in the Philippines there are numerous books for sale for foreigners on all these subjects: law, constitution, business, buying, etc.
Opinions and experiences are welcome, but I wouldn't bet all my money on them.

The law and more:

https://lawyerphilippines.org/2016/03/2 … ilippines/

http://www.bcphilippineslawyers.com/the … ilippines/

http://www.syciplaw.com/Documents/SyCip … 201302.pdf

http://www.chanrobles.com/presidentialdecreeno464.htm

http://jonathanduch.com/starting-a-phil … foreigner/

http://www.lawphil.net/judjuris/juri201 … _2012.html

Supreme court and local court rulings will decide the legality of any and all documents written by an attorney with regard to land leases, and building ownership. Whether the foreigner believes he has protected him or herself with a legal document signed by both he and his wife is irrelevant in the eyes of the court. If the document is decided by the court to have been an attempt to circumvent Philippine law the document can be declared null and void. You guess who wins.

Thanks Teejay. This is solid stuff to read.

Jaypee

Excellent comment Teejay.

Anyone thinking of coming here should understand that this is the Philippines and you can't just make an agreement between two parties (married or not) and think it will stand up in court. The laws are archaic, especially if you are a foreigner.

Perhaps I did not make this clear, I was referring to a home built on the property.  The prior was talking about property and home.  It is clear law that you can legally separate the property from the house.  You control the house thus the property.  I do realize that this can be a difficult situation, but foreigners can own the buildings on the property when separated and recorded as such.  rainrider9

Perhaps like many others, I actually lived in the Philippines (24/7) for several years before I learned that (a) what I thought was or should be possible and (b) what I was told is possible, including by lawyers who each gives a different version and (c) what is possible in many countries; was actually possible.

This the Philippines. When it comes to property, if you are a foreigner, be very careful what you do because in a dispute, you are almost certainly going to come off worse.

You may be right regarding your comment.  I was simply trying  give the gentleman some possibilities.  I as well tried to review and research the legal requirements etc.  in fact there were many threads in thus forum regarding separating the title to the land and the house.  Since usually the home itself is the biggest investment, at least trying to insure you don't lose all in a dispute is prudent.  Good luck to all in each of their own situations.

Rainrider9 :

Perhaps I did not make this clear, I was referring to a home built on the property.  The prior was talking about property and home.  It is clear law that you can legally separate the property from the house.  You control the house thus the property.  I do realize that this can be a difficult situation, but foreigners can own the buildings on the property when separated and recorded as such.  rainrider9

I "own" the home on the property owned by my wife.  My name has been added to the deed as the "spouse". 
If my wife were to try and sell the land she is supposed to have my consent, though more as a courtesy that a legal requirement. In one instance that I know of personally, a foreigner with this same scenario had his estranged wife sell their land without his consent and it was upheld in the court. Does it help to have my name on the document in the case of her death for legal consideration? It can't hurt, though without a lease reviewed and approved by the court, inheritance laws are binding.

If the wife has passed away and some claim is made on the land by family members and a lease made by the husband and wife is found to be valid by the court, the family members are legally bound to honor the lease agreement.
The point being that in many cases involving foreigners in the Philippines and not necessarily yours, the lease has been found to have been nothing more than an attempt to circumvent Philippine laws. In one supreme court case the agreement was thrown out simply because the stipulated amount to be paid to the lessee, wife, could not be accounted for and was less than a fair amount that should have been paid for the property according to the court, depends on the judge, the family and probably attitudes.
This case was brought by the estranged wife and family claiming the foreigner had manipulated his wife into signing the agreement, was it true, who knows, but family members also testified that the foreigner was manipulative and abusive. Agreement nullified, wife wins.

Is it prudent to at least make an attempt to protect yourself, of course, as we have. In the end it is still up to the courts to decide on the validity of any legal documents  if the family decides to contest any prior agreements.

Yes you can inherit in the case of the death of your wife and that can of worms is for another post.

As I understand it, a foreigner can own the house, but can only lease the land, for 50 years renewable for a further 25 years. that would see me decades in to my  grave. What I am not clear on, is can you bequeath the lease? To rely on an attorney to give his opinion, is as has been stated, 100 attorney, 100 interpretations. My answer is to put the lease in my sons name so that my death will not affect the validity of the lease. My wife will naturally inherit the main residence. So I hope I have all bases covered but I would not bank on it.
To great extent the wife holds all the aces and one can only hope that she will carry out your wishes nto the letter.

teejay,  thanks for your input regarding this matter.  One thing that my attorney did recommend (i may not have mentioned) was to have both her parents sign the contract and the addendum regarding the irrevocable trust.  that way they are acknowledging beforehand that the trust is to be honored by all.  My attorney stated that this was proper and to insure that the trust would be honored by all parties even both my wife and all of her family.  This was also recorded on the deed of trust.  I am not an attorney nor know all the archaic laws of the PI, but i have tried to do due diligence regarding building a home for my family (incase of some future marital problems, which i pray will never happen).  Since the lot was not real expensive, the major cost will be building our home.  So if things go south then at least i have covered my basis.  Thanks to all of you for your input and guidence for all us expats in the PI.

teejay,  i just thought of one other thing.  You mentioned a lease for 50+ years and renewable.  I believe that the irrevocable trust signed by my wife and her parents would cover that possiblity.

Rainrider9 :

teejay,  thanks for your input regarding this matter.  One thing that my attorney did recommend (i may not have mentioned) was to have both her parents sign the contract and the addendum regarding the irrevocable trust.  that way they are acknowledging beforehand that the trust is to be honored by all.  My attorney stated that this was proper and to insure that the trust would be honored by all parties even both my wife and all of her family.  This was also recorded on the deed of trust.  I am not an attorney nor know all the archaic laws of the PI, but i have tried to do due diligence regarding building a home for my family (incase of some future marital problems, which i pray will never happen).  Since the lot was not real expensive, the major cost will be building our home.  So if things go south then at least i have covered my basis.  Thanks to all of you for your input and guidence for all us expats in the PI.

Rainrider9,

Your attorney has advised you well. A trust is a tool mentioned legally in many cases and if properly executed can offer you some peace of mind with regard to your assets and investments. Under Philippines law a trust can serve as both a will as well as a tool to avoid problems with inheritance laws and compulsory heirs. If you have listed yourself as grantee, trustee and beneficiary with the assets held by the trust for which you are not only the beneficiary but also the administrator.  Sound advice from your attorney to avoid probate, and provide asset protection in the case of death or disaster for you or potential heirs or a divorce.  The category's of testamentary trust (not applicable in your case), a third party trust and a self settled trust of which the last two can be considered irrevocable was and is an excellent tool to provide estate planning for you, your wife and children and protect yourself from legal claims, creditors and more.

It seems as though you and your attorney have done an excellent job of taking steps to protect your assets for both you and your family.
Would you be interested in starting a new thread here detailing your experience and the wording of your trust to share with other expats?  I am sure that many would find it to be a helpful tool and a good read.
At the top of the page under handy tools you will also find and expat guide where you could detail your experiences in an article and it would be there for member use now and in the future without simply becoming another thread that falls into obscurity.

Thanks for sharing your valuable information with everyone.

Regards,

TeeJay

Tj,  I am replying to your latest entry on buying land.  You described your place in Tagatayin your unfinished subdivision.  Are there any current lots available?   I would like one from 300 to 800 Sam.  Even a half hectare would be ok if the price is decent.  My wife and I will be building our home in 2-3 years, but would like to look at lots. In several months. If there are available lots, do you know what the prices are?  Any help would be appreciated.  We bought a lot inGMA, but, Now think to put a 6 plex on it instead.  Thanks. Rainrider9

I want to buy land here in the Philippines

Hi David

Buying land in the Philippines is one thing, but legally owning land is something else - in short, you can't own land here as a foreigner

What is the percentage to my partner who is Filipino to me as a expat. as l have a chance to buy some farming land as a small business and to keep me occupied .

Hi
You can buy a condominium, a house and you can't own the land but you can do a leasing for 50 years and make a bisness, build a house (on your name) ...

Thanks l will look into that

Hi everyone. new to this forum, but seems like a lot more of you are clued up than me. I'm a Filipino- British citizen. Bought some land in the Philippines with my now ex, who has now disappeared in some rabbit hole in Africa. Now I want to sell my land in metrogate BUT people have been giving me mixed info. The issue or so it seems is that the land title states registered owner >>> my name <<< 'married to' >>> my ex's name <<<. I have been told that his name is just a garnish cos foreigners cant legally own land, then someone else said I have to get a waiver. Does anyone know anything in Philippine law about this? My ex will not sign anything, don't even know where he is, so i need to find a way to get around this if anyone knows. I have my decree absolute since 2015. Thank you all!

I am pretty sure that you cant sell the land without her consent or a Power of attorney even if you own 50%.

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